Thursday, October 29, 2009

Links for 10/29/09

Alex Tabarrok on how more data leads to better health care:
providing information does seem to drive change if only from the shame that a hospital receives when it is found not to be following best practices. It's true that report cards can cause problems when the drive to get a better score causes hospitals to be more reluctant to treat sicker patients but better data on patient characteristics (stage of cancer etc.) and better process/treatment information can alleviate this problem. In fact, all hospitals should be required to provide standardized information for all patients on patient characteristics, treatments and outcomes. Only by making outcome information public will hospitals have the incentive and researchers have the ability to develop more accurate report cards. In short, I cannot think of a simpler change that would improve health care to as great an extent as freeing the data.
Rob Manwaring
Education will receive $100 billion in stimulus funds in total. According to the report, almost $68 billion of that funding has already been obligated... those 250,000 education jobs saved for the next two year would cost around $34 billion. That is about half of the education stimulus funding. What happened to the other half? Schools were suppose to do a lot with these funds – both saving jobs and supporting education reforms. But most antidotes on how the funding has been spent was that the funding was used to maintain the status quo.
John Leo
many colleges and universities will fight hard for freedom of expression, unless it's inconvenient or threatens to bring bad publicity
Daniel Hamermesh
Students apparently consume mass quantities of the performance-enhancing drug Adderall during exam time. Normally the price is $3 for 10 mg, but it rises during exam week to at least $5.

One student reports that in his suburban Dallas hometown, drug dealers, realizing this price variation, speculated by buying up large supplies of the drug at $3 and dumping them on the market during exam time, hoping to sell at $5.

They didn’t realize that this large increase in supply would cause the price to drop below $5...

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